The Huck Institutes of the Life Sciences

Huck Institutes welcomes new staff in 2017

Please join us in welcoming Daryl Branford, Steve Bumbarger, and Kimberly Ripka to the Huck Institutes.

Daryl Branford – multimedia specialist

Daryl Branford, multimedia specialist. Credit: Rene Witzke
Daryl Branford, multimedia specialist
Credit: Rene Witzke

Daryl Branford joined the Huck Institutes in March 2017, as a multimedia specialist, and works with researchers across the life sciences community at Penn State to find innovative and engaging ways to communicate their scientific research.

Daryl received a bachelor of arts degree in integrative arts from the College of Arts and Architecture at Penn State, specializing in cinematography and directing, and has over 12 years experience as a design visualization specialist, videographer, and web developer collaborating on projects with clients from NASA to Airwalk, as well as advising, designing, and implementing pre-rendered and interactive 3-D and 2-D visualizations for the web, stand-alone applications, and video. He specializes in the creation of user experiences, to educate and engage the public using technology as a means of communication.

“My passion,” he says, “is rooted in the belief that everyone is capable of learning a complex idea or concept if the message is clear and the goals are accessible. This can be achieved by stimulating the imagination and setting the stage for the senses to explore the natural world that surrounds and connects us all.”


Steve Bumbarger – financial assistant

Steve Bumbarger, financial assistant. Credit: Seth Palmer
Steve Bumbarger, financial assistant
Credit: Steve Bumbarger

Steve Bumbarger joined the Huck Institutes in February 2017, as a financial assistant, and handles all the Institutes’ budgetary responsibilities, including purchasing card reconciling, purchase order entry, monthly facility billing, invoicing, and other budget-related work.

He started at Penn State in the fall of 1990, working part-time, and began his full-time employment in November 1997, working in the College of Agricultural Sciences’ Department of Agronomy. When not busy with his numerous tasks at work, he enjoys landscaping, hiking, and vacationing at the beach.

“Being calm, in any circumstance,” he says, “is one of my most notable assets working in a fast-paced atmosphere, and one that has been frequently noted in my past positions at Penn State. Hopefully this will continue to be useful while working at the Huck Institutes.”


Kimberly Ripka – director of administration

Kim Ripka, director of administration. Credit: Seth Palmer
Kimberly Ripka, director of administration
Credit: Seth Palmer

Kim Ripka joined the Huck Institutes in January 2017, as the new director of administration, where she brings over 33 years of Penn State administrative and leadership experience to her new position.

Kim began the first nine years of her career in the College of Agricultural Sciences, then spent the next fourteen years working in the Department of Mechanical and Nuclear Engineering in the College of Engineering. Most recently, she worked in the Department of Food Science in the College of Agricultural Sciences before joining the Huck Institutes. Kim brings a breadth of strengths and experience to the position that include managing multiple administrative and operational areas, strategic planning, budget management, human resources management, process improvement, alumni communications and endowment stewardship, technology, facilities, and safety. She holds an associate in science degree in business administration from Penn State.

"Early in my career,” she says, “I was fortunate to have had excellent mentors to help me focus on my career goals and encourage me to pursue a degree part-time while working full-time. I have always been driven and enjoy working in a high-paced environment where I can demonstrate my critical thinking and planning abilities with a positive outlook. The Huck Institutes’ faculty and staff have already welcomed me as a member of the Huck team, and I am enthusiastic about building those relationships and sharing my experiences to help the Huck Institutes continue to develop teams of knowledgeable and service-oriented professionals in order to help advance research at Penn State."